On the rooftop of an exhibition hall in southern Paris, the world’s largest urban farm has started to bear fruit and vegetables.
The vertical farm, called Nature Urbaine, sits on about 150,000 square feet of space.
After some delays due to coronavirus, the farm is officially up and running at about ⅓ of its total planting capacity.
The team of young folks who tend the garden pick around 3,000 bunches of lettuce and 150 punnets (think small baskets) of strawberries daily.
When operating at full capacity, the farm expects to harvest over 2,000 pounds of 35 different varieties of produce every day.
“It is a clean, productive and sustainable model of agriculture that can in time make a real contribution to the resilience – social, economic and also environmental – of the kind of big cities where most of humanity now lives. And look: it really works,” says designer and engineer Pascal Hardy.
Nature Urbaine grows its produce using a soil-less method called aeroponics. The method uses no pesticides or fungicides whatsoever. It also uses 90% less water than traditional methods.
“It also uses less space. An ordinary intensive farm can grow nine salads per square metre of soil; I can grow 50 in a single tower,” he says.
On top of that, the whole growing process is automated. It can be monitored and controlled remotely using a tablet.
Vertical farming is not a new phenomenon, but it is growing and expanding rapidly. Combined with new technology like AI and Robotics, the future of farming looks to be sustainable, healthy, and fruitful.